Amicus curiae, or the impartial adviser to the court, was recently filed in favor of the FMCSA’s new ELD rule. This is a way for organizations and groups outside the current litigation to show their support for either side of the case. When big impact litigations are before a court, like this one, the likelihood of attracting amicus curiae is high.
The FMCSA issued the new ELD rule last year in December. It was the latest in a series of rules that the federal agency has issued causing different, negative reactions throughout the trucking industry. Of course this is not uncommon when a Washington based bureaucracy issues rules that regulate a wide swath of America’s economic driver, and as a result the agency was sued over their authority to make the rule.
The agency claims that their authority to issue the rule stems from several federal statutes passed and enacted over a course of nearly a century. These acts include:
- the Motor Carrier Act of 1935;
- the Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1984;
- the Truck and Bus Safety and Regulatory Reform Act of 1988;
- the Hazardous Materials Transportation Authorization Act of 1994; and,
On the one hand, the agency has good reason to feel as if these statutes grant them authority to institute such a broad reaching rule. Congress over the years has been less and less in the business of passing legislation that deals with particular problems, and instead has functioned as a check writer of budgets and authority grantor to federal agencies. But those fighting the rulemaking have good reason to think that their efforts will be successful.
The lawsuit challenging this rulemaking is based on three arguments: that the rule violates truck driver’s rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment; that the rule will cost too much and cannot be justified; and that the rule fails to comply with congressional grants of authority to the agency. In fact, the agency tried to pass a similar rule several years ago, but the rule was vacated by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. So those fighting the rule have a decent chance at winning.
The questions raised by this litigation are legitimate, and should be left to an impartial judiciary to decide whether the FMCSA has once again stepped outside its authority. But in the end, what does this mean for your business? There are several important lessons to take from this case.
The trucking and transportation industry is heavily regulated, perhaps one of the most regulated in the country. Those regulations can make or break a company, so it is of utmost importance that your company is up to date on all the regulations and what you need to do to stay compliant. The best way to accomplish this is by having experienced legal counsel on your team showing you the way.
At Anderson and Yamada, P.C., we have decades of experience guiding trucking companies through their ups and downs. We have the skill your company needs to stay compliant, fight lawsuits, and navigate your company to success. Contact us today so we can be part of your company’s success.